Got to wake up to very bad news this morning. I’ll thank Papermaiden for messaging it without trying to soften the blow: “Yuna out of PassCode.”
It’s been a few years since Yuna first went on hiatus due to an ovarian cyst, and the way her and management’s statement reads, the pressure of performing eventually just got to be too much. You know she was taking a break from the STRIVE tour over the last several weeks — a break that in retrospect feels more like “take a few weeks off and think about it” than “get your rest” — so I can’t blame her for not feeling like coming back was the way to go. Continue reading
Some idol groups, even those that are just grinding away on chika stage after chika stage, release tons of material and as a result are super accessible; others … not so much. I do have a gift for recall, fortunately, so it’s rare to really, truly forget about a unit once introduced, but as time goes on and life’s priorities change, I do have to admit to being surprised when certain projects pop up from the blind spots in my mind.
Like PapiRosier, who released this MV the other day for their new single! This is the first thing I wrote about them, in the summer of 2016; we have averaged 0.8 post per year from them since, as that seems to be the approximate release schedule. And given how things change over time and the whole “heavy idol” thing has run its course in certain ways, I fully expected this MV to be a simple, sparkling idol song, probably kind of anthemic because that’s what they do, but bereft of much in the way of rock sounds and definitely not something to blog a post about: Continue reading
This website is very pro-SIPP, to the point where I’m very comfortable saying right now that they’re the best debut of 2021 so far and will be very hard to dethrone. “3 or Two” is their latest single, out this past week, and frankly if this one doesn’t convince you that they’re as legit as it gets and gods be good future mainstays we’ll be talking about for years, I don’t know if we can be friends:
Just, what a group. Talent across the roster, excellent diversity of voices, very little in the way of gimmicks, somehow elevating both the “pop” and “punk” parts of their theme beyond what anybody else is doing with either, absolutely masterful hook … there are other groups doing good pop punk, and some do it very well at that, but is anybody doing it better than SIPP? Friend, I think not.
I’ve just always wanted to title a post this, thanks Lui
The new PIGGS single hits stores in a few days, and mid-last week they released the second MV from it (first), and it’s still not the title track, so that leaves a great deal of hope in there being yet another video coming our way. But for the whole reason that I got a NIN vibe before even listening to the thing, here’s “Piggy”:
I’ve been on the lookout for good summertime best-of candidates around the idolverse the past few weeks — our pal N.FENI sort of stole a lot of that thunder though — and frankly coming up kind of short. Am I crazy? I feel like it was normal in the past for even the alt/chika scene to get a few good candidates (even if they were piss-takes) into the mix, and this year just not so much. Pandemic? Olympics? Everybody forgot how calendars work?
Anyway, not a whole lot has happened this week, but our well-loved pals in NELN did drop an album the other day (stuff we know, though), and along with it a new single that … no, screw it, I already ruined the pun.
I think I figured out a pattern when it comes to BiSH in their “officially a big deal” era — the more seriously a release is treated by the group, the higher the likelihood that it might actually be kind of butt. Take for example Letters from last year. Yes, it did very literally top the charts; on the other hand, the only sentiment I got from fans in this particular circle was that the record was a disappointment. A win for WACK and Avex for sure, maybe less so for us. But when the announcement about GOiNG TO DESTRUCTiON landed a few weeks ago, I got a truly giddy feeling: Here was the BiSH that I love most, on the one hand playing into their old chaos merchants persona while also taking the same to a ridiculous level as a send-up of the self-serious approaches they’ve more recently taken to some of their bigger releases:
What have you been listening to lately? My playlists have somehow become even more random of late — my curated playlists on Spotify are horrorshows, basically — but the one thing that I haven’t been listening to very much at all is metal. It’s weird! But other than some adjacent acts like Ghost and Alcest, I don’t think I’ve heard any actual “heavy metal” during the usual daily listening since last week. Call it luck of the draw, I guess, because I can’t think of the last time I would have passed on a good metal album, or even just good modern hard rock (it exists!).
All that being said, finally getting a chance to write about the latest from my girl Yajima Mai didn’t just bring the catharsis of blogging a post, but also finally getting to hear some heavy-ass metal too:
Imagine having to debut as an idol during pandemic lockdowns. Idoling, as an industry, was unsurprisingly able to adapt to full-time virtual performances and lots of livestreams and the like, but those things are all much easier when you’re an act that people know about. Something with fans, like. Much less true for something that has been building toward a first public appearance but hasn’t so much as stepped onto a stage with an audience yet! Obviously a lot of units went on hiatus basically before they even officially launched; others went ahead and did what they could and made the most of it, and frankly those feel like the ones that made the smart decision.
This does bring us to AKIARIM, yes, who had a debut pretty much just as things were starting to go completely haywire but stuck it out and made it work after hitting the pause button and re-debuting in the summer after things had settled down a bit. Hence the anniversary tour and various other festivities all happening now! Among them: Continue reading
Somehow or another, the permanent breakup between BiS and Pour Lui has turned out to be the best thing that could happen to both things — the OG punk idols’ resurrection seemed as likely to be a branding exercise as anything else when they were re-constituted without the founder or any past members at all, yet have been remarkably stable and arguably as good as ever; the OG punk idol herself, the grand dame of this scene, went off and formed a unit that has her fingerprints all over it and, sans some of the pretenses of Lui’s past work, just keeps knocking ’em out of the park.
So yeah, here we are, a second single in as many fiscal year quarters on the horizon, and PIGGS is doing it so good and making it look so easy:
Our girl Saki on the choreo too, if it wasn’t obvious Continue reading
The WAGAMAMA RAKIA glow-up has really been something to behold, hasn’t it? I would say that the group was always interesting, albeit kind of lost amid a ton of competition in their early years, but they did seem to be moving in the right direction by 2018. Then they add MIRI, start to shift their sound a little bit, and then last year’s WAGAMAMARAKIA effectively sealed them as major breakouts. And now look at them compared to this — Minami and Rin are still there from the beginning, but it’s effectively a completely different group doing different things and still just way the hell interesting and doing musical stuff that seems just a step beyond the cutting edge compared to their peers.
The SUPERIORITY EP has a certain victory-lap kind of feel to it in that regard. WAGAMAMARAKIA was the hey-look-at-us, and now here’s the follow-up, five more songs from guest writers that have this much more “street”* feel to them, doubling down on rapping and rocking and idoling all in equal measure — it seems like half of all new units anymore try to work in some raps no matter how incongruous, and while Wagamama may not have been the first, they did seem to emerge as the best practitioners.
The MV for the record’s lead, “JOKER”, hit this morning, and … yeah, really, you just have to experience it: Continue reading